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The Sheep-Like Qualities of a Disciple

Original Air Date 08/08/2011

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Comedian Ken Davis offers a humorous and insightful look at why the Bible compares Christians to sheep.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

John Fuller: Today on "Focus on the Family, Ken Davis offers some observations about the behavior of sheep.

Excerpt:

Ken Davis: They follow each other. They're stupid. One sheep does somethin', the rest of 'em do it. They crowd into a corner. Pretty soon, they'll die from suffocation; they'll all get in there. It's a crowd; it's a party. Let's join it. They're just right there. We're not like that. (Laughter)

End of Excerpt:

John: Well (Chuckling) or are we like that? That's the question we'll answer on today's "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, summer is in full swing and I'm enjoying it. The boys, Jean and I, we're campin' and havin' great times. I think we do more belly laughing during the summer than at any other time. And with that in mind, I thought it was a great idea to jump start this week with a dose of humor.

John: Well, we have a lighthearted message from Ken Davis. He's one of our favorites here and I hope that you'll enjoy this. Sit back and get a copy of it at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Now Ken Davis is an author. He's a motivational speaker and he teaches speaking skills to professionals and corporate executives and with that, here's Ken Davis, speaking at a Praise Gathering event several years ago on today's "Focus on the Family."

Body:

Ken: My message this morning is entitled "Super Sheep." To give you a general idea of what this message is about, you have to understand that I have struggles when I read this Book. I see reality. Jesus had real blood runnin' through His veins. These disciples, I don't know what it is. A lot of folks tend to look at the disciples and they look at them and say, "Well, if I could just be like a disciple, maybe I could be a good Christian. These were ornery men! These were men and women who lived in that day just like you and I. They faced all kinds of problems. And "Super Sheep" is a message about how the Bible compares us to sheep that just made me furious.

I grew up on a farm. I've met sheep. They can't even run right. (Laughter) Did you ever read the Word of God and find somethin' that just comes home to you and you look to see if you can find it disproven somewhere else? You just want to find somethin' that's a little more comfortable? Don't want to be a sheep!

Any farmers here? If you've had sheep, these folks'll tell you, when sheep run and it's a disgusting run; I just hate it. When they run, they don't bend their feet. They give their hoofs a little (Laughter) kind of a geeky little flip like that (Laughter) and they run. Yew! (Laughter) They're sheep. You never see sheep as a mascot for anything. (Laughter) "And the Detroit Sheep!" (Laughter) We'll wool you to death! (Laughter)

So, I started lookin' through the Bible [and] came to Psalms. What a beautiful [book]; oh, I love Psalms. And there were sheep. Psalms was infested with sheep. (Laughter) Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not; He maketh me to lie down in green [pastures]. This is sheep stuff. Lyin' down (Laughter), green pastures, munchin' on stuff, that's for sheep. I want somethin' else.

I went to the back. They have a thing in the back where you can look up words. I'm rummagin' for German Shepherd. (Laughter) I want (Laughter) somethin' here (Laughter) that has power. German … there's no German Shepherd. The word "German" doesn't even appear in the book! (Laughter) "Shepherd" I found every place I looked, it said, "You're sheep." (Laughter) I could not believe it.

And then my eyes fell on the word "lion." That's what I want to be. (Laughter) Oh, I knew I was gonna enjoy this. I savored every moment. I turned the pages slowly, because if God gives me a choice, I didn't want to be a geeky, can't-run-right sheep. (Laughter) I want to be a lion. I want to have independence. A lion doesn't need a lot of support. Sheep need support. You gotta be there. "Oh, poor sheep, look where you're [going]; you gotta save your life. There you go; go lie down in a green pasture." (Laughter) "Is the water too rough? There, I'll still it for you." (Laughter) Oh, good stuff. (Laughter) A lion don't care. "Give me some waves!" (Laughter) I wanted somethin' that had some aggression to it, see.

I turned and found the lion verse. Do you know what it said? "The devil walks about as a roaring lion, (Laughter), seeking whom he may devour." Not fair. (Laughter) Have you ever talked to God like this? You say, "No, I respect God." Come on! God can see right to the base of our hearts. I think one of the problems is, we try to fake out God just like we try to fake each other out.

That's why I love David. "My bones are dry; they're like dust." I think it's why God liked David. "God, this is not fair. You give us the sheep thing and you give the devil the lion thing. That is not fair. That makes the devil so strong and that makes us so weak. This is not fair." I didn't like this verse.

I thought I'm going to the New Testament. It's newer. (Laughter) Maybe this Old Testament is out of date or something (Laughter) and I can find in the New Testament, I began to read in Matthew, oh, this marvelous account of our Lord and then I found red letters and my eyes could not believe what I was reading. "I am your shepherd. You are My sheep." He meant it. (Laughter) No!

I don't want to be a sheep. Lord, sheep, why would you compare us to sheep? It isn't fair. Now you see, you laugh at this, but the truth of the matter is, it sounds tragic. What I want to say to you this morning, [is] that there are three reasons basically that we need to grab ahold of Jesus with all of our strength, that we need to love Him with all of our heart and all of our mind and all of our might. We need to allow Him to control our lives. And one of the reasons is, is that we live in a turbulent world that is far beyond our power, where Satan walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We desperately need the Lord.

The second reason we desperately need the Lord, is we're out there like sheep. We are not like some knight in shining armor. We are like sheep. It's all through the Scriptures; this made me angry. I started to argue with God. I said, "Lord, we're not like sheep. I can run pretty decent. (Laughter)

"Sheep are weird, Lord. I don't want to be a sheep." I started to argue, "Sheep follow each other around." We lost a bunch of sheep one time. I saw it happen, the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life. After that I had even less respect than I had in the beginning for the sheep..

They were running along. There was a sheep out in the lead and he was doin' his little thing with his hooves, (Laughter), lookin' just really stupid. All the other sheep were following behind. And he made a left and went over a precipice. It was about a 50-foot drop and he died. All the rest of the sheep went "Oh!" And they followed him (Laughter) and about 12 sheep lost their lives goin' over this precipice!

They follow each other. They're stupid. One sheep does somethin'; the rest of 'em do it. They crowd into a corner, pretty soon they'll die from suffocation. They'll all get in there. "It's a crowd; it's a party. Let's join it." They're just right there. We're not like that. (Laughter)

Sheep get lost easy. Turn your back, they're history. You gotta spend all night lookin' for 'em. We're not like that. They get into trouble constantly. They're always into trouble, stuck somewhere, upside down. One sheep we almost lost. It got upside down, couldn't get right side up. It's laying (Laughter) in the horse trough upside down. (Laughter) All we saw was four legs stickin' out, stupid hooves. I said to Daddy, "Let him die." (Laughter) Somethin' that stupid doesn't deserve to live. (Laughter)

We're not like that. We're not like that. You don't find us goin', "Oh, let's find a horse trough and then we'll get backwards in there." Have you ever come face to face with the stench of sin and said, "I'll never do that again?" And then found yourself there again? Have you ever found yourself like I have, understanding the beautiful truth that Jesus died on the cross, so that our sins might be buried in the depths of the deepest sea? And you're out there with a rowboat and a long fishing line, fishing for death?

Okay, okay, so do we follow each other around and you know, we get in trouble. But sheep are chicken. I'm gonna tell you something as a result of knowing sheep. There is no animal more chicken than the chicken itself (Laughter), no animal—sheep are chicken.

Our horse used to kill sheep. He'd scare 'em to death. (Laughter) He didn't mean to do it. He didn't sit in his stall and go, "Ha, ha (Laughter), I'm gonna kill these sheep." (Laughter) I think what happened was, in his little horse mind, he'd see the sheep running across the field and he'd go, "Whoa! Nerf ball, hm-hm-hm." (Laughter) Because with the couple of sheep that he killed, we caught him chasin' the sheep across the pasture and tippin' 'em over. Lightning would strike. Sheep would die. "Oh, a loud noise" and they would die. (Laughter)

Lightning would strike or thunder would come and they'd get in groups, they were so scared and smothered each other to death. They're scared. We're not like [that]. No. 1 excuse for not trusting Jesus Christ, "I'm afraid," No. 1. Now that is usually followed by "What my friends will think." That may be followed by, "What will happen with my job?" That may be followed by, "I'm afraid that I can't live up to what God expects." I've got good news for you on that one. You can't. That's why Jesus came.

Program Note:

John: Well, this is "Focus on the Family" and we're right in the middle of a presentation from Ken Davis with a unique perspective about the Christian life, comparing us to sheep as the Bible does. And he'll be telling us in just a few minutes about how we can handle those situations when the lion pounces on us, what to do when Satan comes after us. Now you can hear this program again or get it on DVD when you visit www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

End of Program Note

Ken: I got on a bus one time [and] said a stupid prayer. [Do] you ever say stupid prayers? Stupid prayers are like this. "God, if You want me to share Christ with somebody, give me a sign." I prayed that as I was getting on a bus, leaving Bible Institute to go home. "Give me a sign." I'm gonna tell you somethin' before I go any further. There's all the sign you need.

Man in Audience: Amen.

Ken: The sign's already been delivered—sealed and delivered. There's all the sign you need. You don't need to ask God to give you a sunset in reverse. You don't need to ask Him (Laughter) to make a fleece wet on one side and multi-colored on the other side. There is all the sign you need.

But evidently God is a patient God and sometimes He answers these prayers. I sat down on that bus. A man sat down next to me and absolute true story, began to weep uncontrollably. I have already forgotten my prayer. I'm just uncomfortable that there's a grown man sitting next to me (Laughter), weeping uncontrollably. I sat and stared straight ahead. In those cases, you never look toward the individual. You just look straight ahead, especially when you're chicken like I am.

Some the people whose confidence is in the Lord Jesus Christ might have turned to him and said, "Is there anything I can do? I'm sorry." But not me. I'm looking straight ahead. I do not want to make a mistake here. I don't want to get into any trouble.

The man stopped weeping and then he said, "Sir," to me, "Sir." I turned. He said, "Young man, I'm sorry." I was young at that time. He said, "I am sorry." He said, "I'm sorry for losing my composure." He said, "If only I knew God." And he told me about his life and then he concluded with, "If only I knew God." And then he looked me directly in the eye and he said, "Do you know God?" (Laughter)

I said another silent prayer (Laughter) to God. "Would this be a sign? (Laughter) Is this a sign?" (Laughter and Applause) "Oh, God, if this is a sign, turn the bus driver into an armadillo for me." (Laughter) Don't mess with God. You'll be lookin' up there. That bus driver'll be going "Aah, aah." (Laughter) Afraid to share Christ because [we're] afraid of what our friends will think. Afraid that they might terminate the friendship--afraid, afraid, afraid.

Oh, Lord and I can't run right, follow each other around. Oh! But remember what our horse did, God? Sheep die easy. I killed a sheep. I didn't mean to do it. I didn't sit in the house once and go, "I'll kill me a sheep." (Laughter) I was angry at the sheep. His name was Herman. (Laughter) I was going underneath the fence with two buckets of water to put water in the trough for Herman and his fellow sheep. And Herman came running at me. He butted me into the fence. It was a barbed wired fence—electric barbed wire fence. (Laughter)

I dumped the water on the ground. I was standing in water, tangled in the barbed wire fence. I invented a new kind of dancing right there on the spot (Laughter). When I finally got myself untangled from that fence, I was laying on the ground, desperately breathing. They had electricity that would burn off weeds running through this fence.

I looked up and I swear that, that Herman was smiling. I could see. (Laughter) [I] shook my fist at Herman. The next day I was walking in the barnyard and I saw Herman walking along the edge of the barn. Quickly, I moved out of sight and moved up next to the corner, where I knew Herman would come out. I have to tell before I even finish this story, some of you aren't gonna believe this. This is as true to my memory as I can remember. My father doesn't believe it.

I moved up to the edge. I looked for something to hit Herman with just to pay him back. "Butt me into the fence!" (Laughter) There was nothin' there; there was nothin'--no boards, I couldn't lift the barn and I had no time to do anything. I could hear him panting. Okay, I'm getting' closer. His little footsteps and there it came, his ugly little head. [He] stuck his head out and he didn't see me, just got his head out.

And then he froze and I went, "Baah!" (Laughter) And he died. Herman died. (Laughter) You ask my father to verify this story today, he'll go, "Hm?" (Laughter) Because I told my father the same story and my father said, "What happened to Herman?" (Laughter) "Dad, I went 'Boo' and he died." (Laughter) "Now you hit that sheep; you hit him. What'd you do with that sheep?" "No, Dad, it wasn't a little [boo], it was a big Boo. I was just going, 'Boo!' (Laughter) And he died." (Laughter)

My father's 70-years-old. We went home for Christmas a couple of years ago. My dear father, someday I'll get a chance to tell you how God has healed some of the things that are in our family. My dad, who was never an affectionate person, put his arms around me at the end of that Christmas time and he hugged me tight and he said, "I love you." He said, "Come with me into the kitchen." I went into the kitchen and my father, his wizened face and thinning hair, took me by the shoulder. I'm 45-years-old and he pushed me away at arm's length and he said, "Son, what happened to Herman?" (Laughter) At 45, I'm goin', "He died, Dad." (Laughter) "It was a real big 'Boo.'" (Laughter)

See, God, sheep die easy. Not us. In the last several years, so many of my friends have died. Some of them haven't died physically, but just died. Satan has found a way to get a claw into their life. It breaks your heart. And I start thinking, "Yeah, but I'm a tough sheep." And I open the door and the lion is there.

When you name the name of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God begins to move unbelievably in your life, the lion waits. Usually we're pretty good at messing things up on our own, but when God begins to take hold on our lives, the lion waits and we find that we die easy. I'm a tough sheep! The words don't go together.

"I don't need God." "Yes, you do." The secular world accuses us of using Christianity as a crutch. Little do they know, they're right. We are a generation of people crippled by sin and what a beautiful crutch we have. And without Him, we can only lie in our own disability and die. We desperately need Him.

We need to be driven, friends, to a daily minute-by-minute relationship with Jesus Christ. And please understand the word "we." Each of us brings our own heartaches to this room and we recognize our desperate need for something beside[s] what the world has to offer, even those who are closest to us. We are sheep. We are desperate for a shepherd.

You see the little sheep that goes like this. Picture this--a bunch of little sheep running along in the valley. One is lagging behind [and] weighs, maybe 22 pounds. Up on the hill behind a rock is a lion that hasn't eaten for three, 4 ½ years and he is starved. He sees that little sheep. He's lagging slightly behind. Not a serious thing, he's just let his guard down momentarily.

The lion jumps out from behind the rock and begins to run down the hill, tearing up huge pieces of turf with his claws, saliva dripping into his mane. His eyes agleam with hatred and desire, he leaps into the air and just feet from the little sheep, lets go with a roar, "Roar!" And it shakes the mountainside and the little sheep looks up.

That little sheep has two options. Option No. 1, fight--not a good option. (Laughter) I can't even picture [it]. "Bah, come on." (Laughter) Only one more option left. Run, not away, to where? [To] the shepherd, because here's the beauty, the miracle of the whole thing, perhaps your first understanding of why the title exists the way it does. When you take a little geeky, can't run right, look funny, smell funny, needs dip, runaway, hide, get in trouble, die easy, chicken sheep (Laughter) and you take that little geeky, can't run right, die easy, chicken, runaway, get in trouble sheep and you put it together with a relationship with the Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep, you got a new creature—a super sheep. You still look weird (Laughter), but you can fly. (Laughter and Applause) The Bible says, "I can do all things through--

Audience: Christ.

Ken: --Christ." Not the power of my own hoofs, not by the wool on my back, not by hunting out some psycho-dip person. (Laughter) I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

Now let me show you the beauty, the real beauty and hope of this message. I turned once more back to these wonderful passages and I read this. "For your sake, we face death all day long. We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." "No," Paul says, "in all these things, in spite of all this kind of pain that we may face, we are more than conquerors." That's a sheep, not by himself.

You cannot short-circuit this. You can't decide to be a super sheep and go home and just face those problems. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps; you'll get broken bootstraps. That's it. (Laughter) You tell me this Book is dead. "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, nor the present, nor the future, nor any powers, nor any height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation." You get the impression that Paul is trying to include a lot of stuff here? (Laughter) No, "Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ our Lord."

We are driven to Him, because we live in a world of sin, more powerful and deadly than any of us can face by ourselves. We are driven to Him because we are not out there like some Lone Ranger, like a super hero. We're out there like a helpless little sheep and we are driven to Him, because in Him we can say, "Hey, I'm with Him. I'm a super sheep. Leave me alone." God bless you.

Audience: (Applause)

Closing:

John: With that encouragement, we come to the end of Ken Davis's presentation on today's "Focus on the Family."

Jim: John, I so appreciate that word picture Ken gave us a minute ago, when a little sheep is about to be eaten by that lion, he has two choices. He can fight and become lunch for that lion or run to the shepherd. And the Bible says that we are the sheep. Satan is that lion who seeks to destroy us and Jesus is that Shepherd, seeking to save us.

So, if you're in trouble right now, I know we've had fun laughing with Ken Davis, but there is that serious side and I want to recognize that. You may be feeling like you're under threat from whatever it is and we want you to run into the arms of Jesus. And if we can be a help in doing that, we want to be there for you.

John: Yeah, it's one of the primary reasons we're here and our phone number is 800-A-FAMILY if you'd like to call and talk to somebody.

Jim: And you know, John, so often for Focus on the Family, that pain we hear it from you in the form of your marriages, where it is just tough. You're having difficulty. It's not what you hoped it would be and you're struggling. And here at Focus, you know, we are here to help strengthen your marriages. You're going to hit some difficulty. Marriages are under attack today and I think for one simple reason; it shows the very image of God--two people. A man and a woman coming together in one flesh is a stench in ... in Satan's nostrils. He hates it, because it shows the image of God in humanity.

And we want to equip marriages to be as strong as they can be and think of this. For $40, you can help strengthen and even save a marriage. And with your help, we can offer peace and hope by continuing to invest in families and marriages. Today when you make that donation of any amount, your gift will be doubled, thanks to the generosity of close friends here to the ministry. Let me say in advance, thank you for standing in the gap in this moment for those couples.

John: Yeah, we have broadcasts, resources, books and so much more that we're doing to offer hurting couples help. And you can be part of reaching out and strengthening marriages when you visit www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. And if you've enjoyed Ken's presentation today, you'll want to get a copy of the Super Sheep DVD. You will laugh along as you watch Ken and it does include a lot of additional content that we just couldn't present to you today.

We'll have that and a CD or instant download of this broadcast online. We'll tell you more, as well, when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459. And you know, Jim mentioned the doubling of your gift. We also have another incentive for you to contact us today and that is that we'll send that Super Sheep DVD by Ken Davis to you as a thank you for your generous gift today. Again, donate at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I'm John Fuller, thanking you for joining us and inviting you back tomorrow. You'll hear from Dr. David Clarke about finding hope and restoration, even if you're in a struggling marriage. That's tomorrow, when we'll once again, help your family thrive.

John: And we offer a whole range of resources, from the folks who answer our phone, to DVDs and videos and audio programs and magazines. We also have caring Christian counselors here, who would be happy to have an initial consultation with you if you really just feel you don't have anyone else to talk to about what's going on in your life.

Now I should say that we would invite your call to talk with one of those counselors during business hours and we'll take your number and have someone call you back. That number is 800, the letter A and the word, FAMILY. Or connect with us online at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Now we do have a DVD of this message that you might want to get to pass along to a friend or a family member. Just ask about Super Sheep by Ken Davis when you get in touch. And then, we do have an audio version, which includes much more content than we could bring to you today.

And then finally, it's really important that we communicate to you that our financial situation is in need of a little boost. And we really depend on your faithful generosity to continue reaching out, addressing spiritual issues, standing alongside parents who are struggling and helping marriages be all that God designed them to be. So, please if you can, make a gift today to FOF, as we seek to reach out around the world and help families thrive.

Our program today was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for listening in. I'm John Fuller, inviting you back tomorrow, when we'll look at the very foundations of marriage and a rather radical approach to living life together as God intended, as we once again, turn our hearts toward home.

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Guest

Ken Davis

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Ken Davis is a best-selling author, frequent radio and TV guest, and one of the nation's most sought-after inspirational and motivational speakers. His books have received national critical acclaim, and he has been the keynote speaker for hundreds of major corporate and faith-based events. As president of Dynamic Communications International, Ken teaches speaking skills to corporate executives and ministry professionals. His daily radio segment, Lighten Up!, is heard on more than 1,500 stations in the U.S. and around the world. He and his wife, Diane, reside in Franklin, Tennessee, near their two daughters and six grandchildren. Learn more about Ken by visiting his website: www.kendavis.com.